Inequality and Health: Patterns and Dynamics

Award Year:
David Williams
Social Determinants of Health
Dr. Williams addresses several major unresolved issues with regard to the relationship between socioeconomic status (SES) and health. Using the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, he examines the mechanisms and processes by which aspects of SES affect health status and prospectively predict mortality. Specifically, the study: 1) analyzes the extent to which SES differentials in mortality have been widening in recent decades; 2) provides understanding of the relative contribution of multiple indicators of SES to mortality; 3) identifies the health consequences of stability versus change in the history and patterning of SES over time; and 4) examines how the association between SES and mortality varies by race and gender. This information contributes significantly to understanding the health consequences of changes in the economic status of American families in recent years; the role of income relative to other SES indicators, such as occupation, education, and measures of poverty; and the most appropriate strategies for reducing inequalities in health status.